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Language Barriers

Just days after shocking Arizonans with the news that she would seek reelection, Gov. Janet Napolitano agreed to allow a GOP plan to educate English-language learners become law without her signature. Napolitano's decision temporarily suspends daily fines that have added up to $21 million while U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins decides whether the funding is sufficient.

"It was clear to me that we had gotten as much as we were going to get out of the legislation and we need to take the fight to another forum," Napolitano said in Tucson last week. "I think the bill is flawed in some significant ways."

Napolitano's negative vibes against the bill provoked an outburst from Senate President Ken Bennett and House Speaker Jim Weiers.

"We are pleased that (Napolitano) has finally decided to allow the legislation to go to the judge, but are bitterly disappointed that she has chosen to do so by adding a poisonous and inaccurate assessment of the bill that is tantamount to urging the judge to find against the state," the GOP leaders said in a joint statement. "It is unconscionable that she would attempt to sabotage the effort to bring closure to the ELL issue by finally allowing a plan to go to the judge on behalf of the state and at the same time using disingenuous arguments to seek defeat of that plan."

Meanwhile, the latest poll from Phoenix PBS affiliate KAET-TV suggests that most Arizonans have no idea what the whole fight is about. In the survey of 375 registered voters conducted in late February, only 44 percent fully understood why the state was being fined a million bucks a day. (At first, 52 percent said they understood, but a totally busted 8 percent turned out to be wrong when they tried to explain it to the surveyors.)

Of those who knew what they were talking about, 32 percent blamed the Legislature, 16 percent blamed Napolitano and 38 percent said they were both to blame.

Other poll results: Turning over management of eastern ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates was opposed by 58 percent of those surveyed, while just 22 percent supported it.

Meanwhile, legislation to let college kids opt out of texts they found offensive was opposed by 58 percent of those surveyed, while 30 percent thought that would be OK.


Fumbled

The U.S. Army said it was opening a new criminal investigation into the death of NFL football star Pat Tillman, who gave up a job with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Although initial Pentagon reports said that Tillman had been killed in action in April 2004 while courageously charging enemy forces, subsequent investigations--according to what we've read in the San Francisco Chronicle--revealed that Tillman had been shot by his own men while repeatedly yelling out, "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat Fucking Tillman, dammit!"


Lane Violation

The Arizona Wildcats wrapped the regular season with a thrilling 66-61 win against Washington State on Thursday, March 2, followed by a depressing 70-67 loss to Washington on Saturday, March 4.

Meanwhile, there's more trouble off the court for the Wildcats: After Saturday's loss, senior forward Hassan Adams got popped for DUI near the intersection of Park Avenue and Sixth Street.

UA Coach Lute Olson announced earlier this week that Adams will not accompany the University of Arizona men's basketball team to Los Angeles for this weekend's Pac-10 Tournament. Olson said Adams was suspended from tourney play for violating a team rule.

"I apologize to the team, to the coaches, the university and the fans for my violation of a team rule," Adams said in a scripted release. "I accept the coach's decision to be suspended from the Pac-10 Tournament. I wish the team well and hope for its success. I'm looking forward to participating in the NCAA Tournament if Arizona is invited."


Trial and Tribulation

The sensational murder trial of Dr. Bradley Schwartz, who stands accused of hiring hitman Ronald Bruce Bigger to kill former colleague Dr. Brian Stidham, got underway in Pima County Superior Court this week.

Can't make it to Pima County Superior Court? No problem! Your friends at courttv.com are webcasting the trial every day. Membership normally costs $5.95, but The Range has signed up for the 30-day free trial just to catch our local legal action.


Tin Man

On the arts and culture beat: The Temple Gallery, located above the theater at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., is hosting a show of tin sculpture by Range illustrator and "Random Shots" cartoonist Rand Carlson through April 12. Swing by the opening this Friday, March 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to meet the artist himself.

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